The Packers have lost Aaron Rodgers but still have talent. Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images
Just how vital is the Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers to the point spread? The opening line moved the Packers from a -6.5 point favorite before the injury to an opening 4 point underdog at home. The line got as high as New Orleans -6.5 Monday evening at the Westgate, but seems to be settling into the 4.5 point range as of Thursday afternoon. A 6.5 point favorite wins approximately 71.1% of its games, while 3.5 point underdogs win about 41.5% of the time, that's a 30% swing. If you want to measure what these numbers mean, let's take the Patriots last year. When the Tom Brady suspension was announced, the line moved 6 points. Having seen some of what he can do, we can now say that Jimmy Garoppolo is a more competent quarterback than Brett Hundley. The line ended up settling after Garoppolo's first performance week 1, to about a 4.5 point difference. But what did we really know about Garoppolo prior to him starting those few games? Other players worth substantial points to their team include Drew Brees, Joe Flacco, Russell Wilson and Matt Ryan, all worth approximately 6-7 points. In 2014, the Arizona Cardinals Carson Palmer came out red hot to a 6-0 start. In the fourth quarter of Week 6, Palmer tore his ACL, adjusting the following week's point spread -6.5 points for Drew Stanton. This same weekend, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are missing Jameis Winston. The point adjustment for him is only 1.5-2 points. As you can see, the oddsmakers are grading Rodgers absence historically high and possibly the most significant loss to a team according to a point spread. But also, anticipating the public would drive the number up seeing what the Saints did to the Lions scoring 52 points. While Rodgers is arguably the best player in the league, don't overreact. Vegas has now moved the Green Bay Packers from a 5-1 to a 12-1 favorite to win the Super Bowl.
Teams getting the most action:
Carolina Panthers: 76%
Tennessee Titans: 74%
Denver Broncos: 73%
Kansas City Chiefs: 72%
Jacksonville Jaguars: 69%
What do all these teams have in common? Road Favorites.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense ranks in the bottom three vs. quarterbacks and wide receivers. Look for Tyrod Taylor to have a good day as he quietly has thrown for 910 yards with a 6/2 TD-INT ratio. With Jameis Winston's shoulder being banged up, enter journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick. Tampa has lost four straight road games and has allowed 24 points per game giving up 403 yards along the way. Buffalo has covered coming out of a bye the past two seasons. The Bills are 4-1 are ATS this year while the Bucs are 1-6 vs. line last six since late 2016.
The Chargers are 0-3 Straight up and ATS at Home this year. When we say home, we use that loosely as attendance has been at an all-time low at the Stub Hub Center. With Home Field advantage in the NFL counting as 3 points on average, is that Home Field factored in this line? If it is, the line is telling you the Chargers are a better team? Give me the better defense, the #1 rush Defense, coming off a performance, where they gave up over a 100 yards to an unknown running back. Look for the Broncos to get off to a hot start vs. a Chargers team that is trailing 50-7 in first quarters this year. Broncos are 5-1 Straight up and ATS the last six in this series on the road.
Packers + 4.5 (wait until kickoff line goes higher)
Overreaction!! That's what this line screams. In the NFL, things are viewed as a what have you done for me lately. New Orleans is coming off a 52 point performance where the defense score a few times and Mark Ingram shined; Now they travel to Green Bay to face a wounded team with a backup quarterback. The critical factor in this game will be the weather. It will be raining all weekend and a forecast calling for 80% rain 12 mph winds with a low of 42 degrees. These are all good things for a Packers team looking to play different defenses as the secondary is also depleted making them turn away from the Nitro package. If I had to pick, I would take the Packers +4.5-6 if you can get it that high close to kickoff. When a defense is that bad, and your QB's home/Road splits are massive, Give me the home dog vs. a team getting 70% of the action.
Action: Teaser of the week
Tennesee-1 /Seattle Pick
Dallas Cowboys Team Total over 26.5
Giants/ Seahawks under 40.5
For any questions or comments reach me at @JerryBoKnowz on twitter.
Travel: is the Keyword here. A game being played in London.